If you've been involved in web development for a while, you've probably heard or read about React and Vue. Perhaps it was in a Twitter debate or a tech blog article. Or maybe you came across a question on Stack Overflow where someone was confused about which one to choose for their next project.
If you're new to these technologies, don't worry!
This article will explain why React and Vue are often the subjects of debate in web development. We'll compare and contrast each framework's unique features and benefits, performance, scalability, and use cases.
By the end of this article, you'll have enough knowledge to make an informed decision about whether to choose React or Vue for your next project. So let's dive in!
What Is Vue?
The framework uses a model-view-viewmodel (MVVM) architectural pattern, which separates the graphical user interface from the business logic of your application.
Vue is free and open-source, developed by Evan You, an ex-Google employee, in 2013. The idea for Vue came after Evan worked with Angular.js and shared his thoughts about it: "I figured, what if I could just extract the part that I really liked about Angular and build something really lightweight without all the extra concepts involved.”
Today, Vue has become one of the most widely used frontend frameworks in web development, rivaling popular tools such as React.js and Angular.js. It is known for its simplicity, easy-to-understand underlying concepts, and short learning curve for beginners. Vue offers a strong basis for creating complex and performant apps that match your unique demands, regardless of your level of experience as a developer or where you are in the learning process.
Features of Vue
Vue's popularity stems from its array of features that make it simple, flexible, and easy to use for developers at different levels of experience. Vue offers a wide range of tools for creating dynamic, responsive, and complex web applications. In this section, we'll explore some of the exciting features that give Vue its acclaimed superpowers.
Vue uses a component-based architecture that divides the user interface into independent and isolated entities. This approach enables developers to reuse code components throughout the entire application. Components are a fundamental building block of many Vue applications. They allow for the separation of concerns and provide a straightforward way to manage large and complex applications seamlessly.
For example, here is how you would typically write a component in Vue:
Reactivity and Two-Way Data Binding
In Vue, two-way data binding means that data is automatically synchronized between the model and the view layers. Put simply, when the data in the model changes, it automatically updates the view, and when the data in the view changes, it automatically updates the model. A good example of this is the
v-model directive, which is commonly used to sync data between an
input field and a state object in order to create interactive forms in Vue applications.
Integration with Other Tools
Vite - A build tool that provides a faster and improved developer experience for creating Vue projects.
Vuetify - A material design component framework for Vue. It provides a set of UI components and styles that can be used to build beautiful and responsive user interfaces with little or no configuration.
Vuex - A state management library in Vue that serves as a centralized store of data for all the components in your application.
Free and Open-source
Vue is a powerful and flexible framework for building web applications that offers a wide range of features that make it simple, flexible, and easy to use for developers at different levels of experience. One of the key advantages of Vue is that it is free and open-source, which means that its source code is available for anyone to use, modify, or research. This not only makes Vue accessible to developers of all skill levels, but it also enables collaboration from the diverse community of Vue users who contribute to the project and make it sustainable.
The open-source nature of Vue also means that developers can modify the framework to suit their specific needs, which gives them greater control over their application's functionality and design. This level of customization is particularly useful for developers who are building complex web applications that require a high degree of flexibility and scalability.
In addition to being free and open-source, Vue is also known for its simplicity, easy-to-understand underlying concepts, and short learning curve for beginners. This makes it an ideal choice for developers who are just starting out in web development, as well as those who are looking for a more streamlined and intuitive approach to building web applications.
Overall, Vue's free and open-source nature is one of its key advantages, as it not only makes the framework accessible to developers of all skill levels, but it also enables greater collaboration and customization, which can help developers create truly unique and powerful web applications that meet their specific needs and requirements.
For instance, Vue templates can help you render data from an array or object of remote data, handle user input events, and conditionally render content based on the component's state.
Most of the time, you'll find yourself using templates in Vue. The structure of a component's view is defined by a template, which is essentially a string of HTML that may include placeholders for dynamic data and application logic.
Here's how the virtual DOM works in Vue. When the application data or state of a component changes, Vue automatically updates the in-memory virtual DOM of the component's HTML markup. The virtual DOM then calculates the difference between the previous state of the component's markup and the new state and determines the minimum set of changes required to update the actual DOM. This approach only updates the real DOM with the necessary UI changes instead of updating the entire DOM tree, which can be slow and inefficient.
The VDOM in Vue is a technique borrowed from React.js and is used by frontend frameworks such as Elm.
The main idea behind the VDOM is to provide a faster and declarative approach to manipulate, create, or update UI structures while leaving the rather slow and expensive direct manipulation of the DOM to the renderer.
Vue is a flexible and compatible technology for many web development use cases. It provides a powerful set of tools for building dynamic and reactive user interfaces, making it a great choice for single-page applications, such as e-commerce sites.
In addition, Vue can be used for Server Side Rendering (SSR) to render the initial state of an application on the server, improving performance and SEO. For Static Site Generation (SSG), Vue can generate static HTML pages that can be served directly to users without the need for a backend server, making it a great fit for JAMStack.
Vue can also be used for desktop app development with tools like Electron, or mobile app development using a framework like Ionic Vue. All in all, Vue offers a flexible and powerful toolset for web development that can be adapted to a wide range of use cases and requirements.
What Is React?
Facebook originally created React for a couple of reasons. The main reason was to manage the bottlenecks that arose from creating complex software, such as the Facebook Ad platform. Another reason was to improve the performance and maintainability of their own web applications. The web was evolving, with interactive and complex user interfaces becoming more common, and Facebook didn’t want to fall behind in this development, especially since they were building an application at the forefront of this evolution - namely, Facebook.
Features of React
So, what are the features of React that make it so popular and a leading choice in web development? In this section, we will go through some of the most important features of React that put it at the forefront of web development.
The virtual DOM is one of the most powerful features of React and is responsible for its performance in complex web applications. According to the React documentation, "The virtual DOM (VDOM) is a programming concept where an ideal, or 'virtual', representation of a UI is kept in memory and synced with the 'real' DOM by a library such as ReactDOM. This process is called reconciliation."
The virtual DOM makes working with React declarative. This means that you describe what you want your application to look like, rather than how to make it look that way. React also uses the virtual DOM to create a virtual representation of your app's UI, which it then renders to the actual DOM. Because React takes care of rendering the UI, you don't need to worry about low-level details like updating the actual DOM manually, which can be complicated and slow down your application's performance.
React's component-based architecture is a key feature of the framework. This architecture is a framework for building software based on modular and reusable components.
Components in React are pieces of React code that are encapsulated into a single file, which represents a part of the app UI. Although components are often independent, they can share their state or data with other components through properties and events. This separation of concerns makes it easy to build complex UIs from small, reusable components, rather than having to write all the application code in a single file.
Another benefit of the component-based architecture is that it makes it easier to work across your codebase. By breaking down your application into smaller, modular components, you can focus on one piece of functionality at a time and avoid getting overwhelmed by the complexity of the entire application.
For example, here's how to create a functional component in React that increments a counter when a button is clicked:
While not strictly necessary in React, JSX enables you to write readable, declarative, and easily comprehensible code, particularly when working with React components.
For instance, consider the following example of React code written in JSX:
Compared with the same code written without JSX:
In essence, JSX enables you to write composable, maintainable, and easy-to-understand React code.
One-Way Data Binding
One-way data binding, also known as unidirectional data flow, is a model where data flows in a single direction: from the parent component to its children. The main idea behind this approach is to help developers build scalable and maintainable applications that are easy to write and debug.
With this approach, only the parent component can pass data down to its children as props. The children components cannot modify the data directly. Instead, if a child component needs to update the data, it sends a message to the parent component. The parent then updates the data and passes it back down to the children.
Large and Growing Ecosystem
Since its release in 2013, React has gained an enormous following and a thriving ecosystem of developers, tools, and resources. Its free and open-source nature has made React one of the go-to choices for building modern web applications.
Moreover, React-based libraries and tools cover a wide range of features, including state management, routing, animation, styling, and testing. This allows you to create virtually anything you can imagine without going through the hassle of building from scratch.
React's flexibility is one of its most exciting features, contributing to its widespread popularity. It can be utilized to build single-page applications, statically generated sites, or server-side rendered sites.
Furthermore, React is a versatile tool that can be applied to a variety of use cases beyond web development. Examples include building mobile apps with React Native, desktop applications with Electron, or creating desktop applications for macOS, Windows, and Linux.
Vue vs. React: Head-to-Head Comparison
Similarities Between Vue and React
Virtual DOM - React and Vue both use a virtual representation of the actual DOM, called virtual DOM, under the hood. This method of rendering the UI eliminates performance bottlenecks and abstracts away manual DOM manipulation that can be slow and expensive.
Component-Based Architecture - Both Vue and React follow a component-based architecture, enabling developers to build complex UIs by breaking them down into smaller, reusable components that can be shared and reused across an entire application.
Lifecycle Hooks - React has "lifecycle methods" which are now known as hooks, allowing code to be executed at set points during a component's lifetime. Vue has its own system of reactive properties and lifecycle hooks that achieve similar functionality to React's hooks.
Versatility - React and Vue offer a wide range of use cases, including mobile and desktop application development. Additionally, they can also be used for building Progressive Web Applications (PWAs). For instance, React has Next.js, a popular React framework for building scalable web applications, and Gatsby for building statically generated sites.
Differences Between Vue and React
Creator - Vue was created by Evan You, a former Google employee and lone software engineer who became frustrated after using Angular. React, on the other hand, was created by Jordan Walke, a software engineer at Meta (formerly Facebook).
Size - Powerful but lightweight, Vue applications tend to be generally smaller compared to React applications with the same feature sets.
Popularity and Acceptance - According to the 2022 State of JS survey, 81.8% of respondents use React in their tech stack, compared to 46.2% using Vue. Additionally, 50.7% of people showed interest in picking up Vue, while 47.2% expressed interest in React.
When to Use Vue over React?
Vue is a framework and, unlike React, it has some superior capabilities that are lacking in a library such as React. Most of the required functionalities in a fully-fledged application are often built in and abstracted away by a framework like Vue. Vue is best suited for novice developers or anyone looking to build an application as quickly as possible.
There are no limits to the kinds of applications that can be developed with Vue, from e-commerce sites to social networking apps and user dashboards.
Here are a few popular companies and products using Vue in their tech stack.
Alibaba Group - A Chinese multinational company and one of the early adopters of Vue. The e-commerce giant uses Vue in their tech stack to create dynamic and interactive user interfaces for their online marketplace.
Grammarly - Grammarly’s text editor is one of the popular products that use Vue’s capabilities for great user experiences and performance. Vue is used in the digital writing assistant web interface to help provide real-time feedback and suggestions for its users.
Behance - Behance is a social platform for creatives to showcase their work. On its platform, Vue is used to create a seamless digital experience and responsive design for its large user base.
Nintendo - Nintendo, a popular video game company, uses Vue to create a rich and immersive user interface and experience for its users.
Adobe - Adobe is another big name that uses Vue in its frontend stack. The Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is one of Adobe’s products that use Vue.
When to Use React over Vue?
If you are looking to quickly find a job, React may be a better choice than Vue, as there are relatively more React jobs than Vue jobs in the tech market. This is partly because React was released before Vue and is a project developed by a tech giant, namely Meta. It has a large community of veteran and professional developers who use and advocate for it.
React can also be used to create social networking apps, data and visualization tools, dashboards, e-commerce sites, and more.
Apart from Facebook, which was the main reason for React's creation, here are some popular applications built with React:
Discord - A popular social communication and online gaming platform that uses React to power most of its features, such as instant messages, video and voice chats, and media files, providing seamless and interactive online experiences.
PayPal - A popular world payment service that uses React to build its web interface, allowing for quick and seamless navigation throughout the app, making it easy for users to complete their transactions.
Khan Academy - An online educational platform that provides courses and learning resources for its user base. The company's integration of React into its tech stack results in an easy-to-navigate site content and an interactive experience.
Airbnb - An online marketplace that lets homeowners rent out spaces in their homes for a short period. Airbnb uses React to create a fast and responsive user interface, enabling its users to browse listings easily, make bookings, and communicate with hosts.
Netflix - A popular streaming platform that uses React in its tech stack to create a smooth and seamless user interface, allowing for quick loading times and smooth scrolling, making it easy for users to find and watch their favorite content.
Vue vs. React: Is React Better than Vue?
When it comes to deciding between Vue and React, it's important to recognize that there is no clear-cut answer.
While it's true that there's no "one-size-fits-all" solution, it's crucial to make the right choice in order to set yourself up for success. This involves taking a careful look at your project's specific requirements and weighing them against the pros and cons of each framework.
Of course, there are other factors to consider as well. For instance, you'll want to think about your team's experience with the technologies, as well as their knowledge and preferences. All of these elements will play a role in determining which technology is the best fit for your project.
Frequently Asked Questions About Vue vs. React
Should I Use React or Vue?
The choice between React and Vue largely depends on the specific needs of your project. React, backed by Facebook, is renowned for its vast ecosystem and robustness, making it a great choice for complex, large-scale applications. On the other hand, Vue is known for its simplicity and ease of use, which can be beneficial for smaller projects or for beginners in web development.
Which Is Easier, Vue or React?
Generally, Vue is considered easier to learn and use than React. Vue's syntax is simpler and more straightforward, which can make it more appealing to beginners. However, React's popularity means there are ample resources and community support available, which can make the learning curve less steep over time.
Is Vue as Powerful as React?
Yes, Vue is as powerful as React. Both libraries are capable of building high-performance, scalable applications. While React has been around longer and is used by more large corporations, Vue has shown itself to be capable of handling large-scale applications as well.
Is Vue Faster Than React?
Performance wise, both Vue and React are incredibly fast, and you're unlikely to notice significant speed differences in most applications. However, some benchmarks suggest that Vue might have a slight edge in certain scenarios. It's important to note that performance often depends more on how the code is written rather than the framework itself.
Why Do People Prefer Vue Over React?
Vue's simplicity and ease of use are often cited as reasons why developers prefer it over React. Vue's clear syntax and comprehensive documentation make it easy to learn and implement. Additionally, Vue includes a few features out-of-the-box that you'd need additional libraries for in React, like transitions and animations.
Is Vue Becoming More Popular Than React?
Will Vue Replace React?
It's unlikely that Vue will outright replace React, at least in the near future. Both have their own strengths and cater to different needs. React's large user base and backing by Facebook make it a stalwart in the industry. However, Vue's increasing popularity suggests it will continue to be a popular choice among developers, especially those who prioritize ease of use and simplicity.